Chicago Daily Southtown, IL
Aug 10 2007
Armenian spiritual leader Karekin II to visit Chicago
August 10, 2007
By Susan Hogan/Albach Special to the Daily Southtown
Karekin II, the Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians,
will visit Chicago for the first time during an October pontifical
trip to the United States, church officials said Thursday.
Karekin is the spiritual leader, chief shepherd and pontiff to the
world’s 7 million Armenian Apostolic Christians. About 1 million of
those are in the United States, including a parish in Palos Heights.
Karekin has twice visited the United States on private trips, but
this is his first pontifical tour of America since being elected in
"This is quite a historic trip," said the Rev. Aren Jebejian, pastor
of St. Gregory the Illuminator Armenian Church, 6700 W. Diversey
Karekin will be in Chicago Oct. 24-25 as part of a 15-city tour of
the Diocese of Armenian Church of America (Eastern), church officials
On Oct. 24, he will meet with Cardinal Francis George as well as the
Council of Religious Leaders, which includes representatives of the
region’s Christian, Muslim and Jewish communities.
Karekin also will lead a worship service of adoration. The time and
site of the service still are being determined, but Jebejian said he
hoped to use either the city’s Catholic or Episcopal cathedral.
"None of the Armenian churches can hold the number of people
expected," he said.
Karekin’s predecessor, Karekin I, visited Chicago in 1996 and spoke
to a packed house at Fourth Presbyterian Church of Chicago on
Michigan Avenue. He died from throat cancer in 1999.
Karekin II then was elected the 132nd Supreme Patriarch and
Catholicos, which means "universal leader." He occupies the throne of
St. Gregory in the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, which is in
Karekin will be in the United States from Oct. 6 to Nov. 2. In
addition to Chicago, he’ll make stopovers in New York City; Boston;
Washington, D.C.; Charlotte, N.C.; St. Petersburg, Fla.; Boca Raton,
Fla.; New Orleans; Baton Rouge, La.; Dallas; Houston; Cleveland;
Racine, Wis.; Minneapolis, and Detroit.
"This is an opportunity for Armenian American Christians to get to
know their catholicos," said Michael O’Hurley-Pitts, spokesman for
the pontifical tour. "There’s a resurgence in spirituality among
The diocese has parishes in four Illinois towns besides Palos Heights
— Chicago, Evanston, Waukegan and Belleville. Three other Illinois
parishes belong to a smaller, second branch of the church based in
Lebanon and now led by Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of
From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress